Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ragin' Vegans

No, we're not angry, and we're not mean.  In fact...we're not really "raging" at all.  But we did spend the weekend in the land of the Ragin' Cajuns, which is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's mascot (it took us awhile to figure it out).  Long story short, we had a wedding reception to go to for one of Nick's military friends.  

It can always be difficult to be a vegan "on the road" (even though we flew, you know what I mean), and I was worried that my husband's first vegan-away-from-home experience was going to be terrible.  We had no refrigerator, we had no microwave, and...we were in Louisiana.  The land of crawfish and gumbo.  Very un-vegan.  

Surprisingly, that was not the case.  First off, the Philadelphia airport made me extremely happy.  This little CIBO stand (concourse E, if you're looking for it) that was right behind our gate had the obligatory Clif and Lara bars, that would have definitely worked.  But upon delving deeper, they also had a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables, Sabra hummus and pretzel chips, and vegan cookies!  Dairy, egg, and nut free cookies!  So cute, called Divvies because they are meant to share, and share we did.  We had the chocolate chip, and they were perfectly soft, exactly what I was hoping for, but not expecting.  Looking at their website once we got to a computer, the whole company is awesome!  They don't just make cookies, but caramel corn, jelly beans, cupcakes, etc!  These are all things that I love (yes, I have a little bit of a sweet tooth).   

We were hungry when we got to Louisiana.  We were also worried and ill prepared (we didn't really pack anything but some trail mix, and we hadn't researched but one place...it was all we could find).  GPS to the rescue.  I always search International Cuisine first.  We found a really nice and really yummy Greek place called Zeus (they had bellydancers and everything).  

We had stuffed grape leaves for the first time!  I had falafel for dinner (pictured), and Nick had a vegetarian plate which included moussaka, lentils, hummus, etc.

We got breakfast from Wal-Mart.  My go-to cereal is Special K protein plus.  I really like having a little extra protein in the morning and this is lower in calories (meaning you can eat enough of it so that you actually feel full), and has a nice cinnamony taste.  We got some individual sized Silk (I don't usually drink sweetened soymilk but...it was vacation!), fruit, and we were more than good to go.  Well, after that plus the coffee we were good to go. 

The bottom with the orange top is liquid stevia.  A must, for me to drink coffee.

Lunch was at the one veg place I had found before we left.  It was a little place called The Whole Wheatery.  I had a hummus and tabbouli stuffed pita (we ate a lot of hummus on this trip).  

Dinner...well that was the night of the wedding, we mainly just had fruit and raw veggies.  But we did fill up on some snacks beforehand, which we got from the Fresh Market.  It was cool, they had about 72 big bulk bins (kind of set up like barrels, not your typical bulk bin), with everything from trail mixes to raw nuts and dried fruit to fresh coffee beans.

The next day was kind of a bust.  We had the same breakfast, we had a salad and french fries for lunch at a very local place, and the selection at the airport was miniscule.  We did, however, get some Alternative Baking Company cookies at our layover in Memphis.  Some vegan, gluten free goodness amongst the rib buffets!  I've been wanting to try these for ages, but I could never convince myself to waste the calories (about 240 calories for half a giant cookie).  I figured, since I had barely eaten anything, it'd be okay.  I went for Snickerdoodle.  Nick got both a Double Chocolate Decadence and a Colossal Chocolate Chip.  Don't get me wrong, the chocolately ones were both good (I stole a bite of each), but the Snickerdoodle was amazing!  It was soft all the way through to the middle, but still just a little firm on the outside.  Cookie awesomeness.  It actually kept me pretty full too.  Nick though, after two of them, was still feeling a little sugar-rushed by the time we got home.  

I guess the moral of the story here is...you can be vegan almost anywhere, and don't judge a place before you get there...or at least Google-Earth it.  Some places will be harder than others, naturally, but its all about knowing where to look.  After being vegan for awhile, you know the types of establishments that will most likely have *something* you can eat, or you can easily ask for something veganized.  We ended up eating a lot of Greek food, but there were also Japanese, Thai, Indian, and Mexican places in the area, all of which could have easily worked.  

I leave with some pictures from our trip to the Tabasco factory (which I always thought was just a name for hot sauce, not a name brand).  

Nick at the entrance

A fishy being teased by a "Tabasco pepper"

A Louisiana Bayou!

If you're going to be doing some lengthy flying, check out my Vegan in the Air post from when I went to Hawaii!  

Nick has a review for you tomorrow, so make sure to come back and give him some love!  

15 comments:

  1. Horay for eating vegan on the road!! Looks like you guys had a great trip!!!
    -A

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  2. I'm glad you found some great vegan eats on the road! What fun =)

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  3. I've never tried those cookies! Hmmm... something new! It's interesting, I find it easiest to eat gluten free at ethnic restaurants too. Why is America so unfriendly to us?! BTW- I LOVE STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Gina,

    Hello doll! I saw your comment on La Belle Vegan’s post today and I just have to say , “Oh do Do DO try Pbu!” It's so delish I couldn't keep it to myself... although I did very briefly consider patenting the stuff and selling off jars on Ebay. But then I got stuck trying to figure out how I would keep it cool if it had to shipped anywhere farther than an hour away from my little dwelling and decided to post the recipe instead. ;P

    What a great job you did finding eats on the road! Those cookies look like heaven. Yum yum.

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    With Love,

    Emily

    P.S.- Do you mind if I "follow" you and add you to my blogroll

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  5. Looks like you had a great trip and ate well! I find airports here in Europe much less friendly then your great experience (and even my hometown of Toronto airport is a little dodgy on vegan food) so you really lucked out. My worst travel-vegan experience was actually China. I was totally expecting it to be easier then it was....just glad I had my own apartment to cook in or I would have spent the whole time I was there living on pineapples.
    Love the falafel plate - looks soooo good!

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  6. Hi Gina! Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, it's very strange that we both have the same name and are dating Nicks....so funny! One thing we don't have in common though, is CHEMISTRY! I am no good at chemistry. Good luck finding a lob, I would guess it can't be too hard, I mean I would have LOVED to have an English speaking chem teacher. Most of mine could barely speak English, which made it about 10 times more difficult.

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  7. Not always easy eating on the road in unknown territory. I never travel without lots of snacks, homemade raw bars, etc. You did pretty well - and hey, tabasco is vegan!

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  8. ooo.... i haven't had grape leaves in months. they are some of my faves!

    and i'm jealous of the tabasco factory. i had some smoked chipotle tabasco the other day, and can't find it in the store! i think i'm going to have to order it from them!

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  9. I love everything about this post. I'm ridiculously jealous of the tabasco factory. Me and hot sauce are a match made in heaven.

    I'm pretty much in love with the Philly airport for having so much vegan friendly food. Those falafels look delcicious!

    I also love pitas with tabbouli in them! So yummy. I just ate dinner and your post is making me hungry again.

    Definitely let me know for sure when you'll be in Seattle or at least free because I'll drive down to see you! How exciting!

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  10. What fantastic finds! I'm usually overjoyed just to find soymilk when I'm on the road.

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  11. Nick's a total hottie. :)

    Glad your trip went well, and that you were able to find some vegan eats. Ain't nothing wrong with a lot of hummus...sounds like my every weekend.

    Hope you're having a good week Gina!

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  12. Yes I agree that you can almost always find something to eat no matter where you go. Most places will have salads and french fries! I also find hummus very handy when on the road. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

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  13. I'm glad you found so much good (vegan!) food to eat while you were travelling. I am going to Disney in a few weeks actually and I am a little skeptical about the food situation, although lots of people have told me that being vegan in Disney isn't a problem.

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  14. Aw, the whole wheatery! SO adorable! I hate when I can't get WW pita or bread at restaurants!

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  15. Nice post. Full of food I am feeling hungry now.

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